BERLIN – Berlin should see a draft of the new town comprehensive plan in February after waiting years for a viable version of the new document.
Consultant Tim Bourcier, of engineers Davis Bowen and Friedel, who is writing the plan, said this week that the draft of the entire plan would be turned in to the Berlin Planning Commission for preliminary review in February. Final review by the Berlin Mayor and Council would then take place in March.
After approval by the town council, the plan would be sent on to Worcester County and the state of Maryland, both of which need to sign off on the document.
Bourcier made his most recent official update to the Berlin council in mid-October, saying then that the Planning Commission could receive the draft as early as December, but certainly by January. Last week Bourcier said that he had planned to deliver a revised section of the plan on the municipal growth element to the Planning Commission in December, but that meeting was canceled, and the review was moved to the January meeting.
Berlin Planning and Zoning Superintendent Chuck Ward said that the Planning Commission would review the draft comprehensive plan for small errors, such as proper references, correct names and any obvious omissions, in a work session, to clean up the document before public consideration.
The Planning Commission will then hold a public hearing before sending the document on to the Berlin council. The council will also hold a public input session. Written comments will also be accepted.
“You can’t have too many public meetings, but you can have too few,” Ward said. “The public needs an opportunity to comment. Hopefully, the community will get together and make themselves heard.”
The Planning Commission will hold its own public hearing to streamline and shorten the process, Ward said. Changes identified during the Planning Commission’s hearing can be passed on to the Berlin council, instead of changes being requested in front of elected officials, which would be sent back to the Planning Commission for review.
Ward said he could not predict a date for the public hearing.
“We haven’t had enough of an opportunity to review to be able to decide what issues are there,” he said. “I just really don’t know when.”